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Paris Resurges as the Centre of Global Contemporary Art in 2021

03-16-2021 04:49 AM CET | Arts & Culture

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/ PR Agency: Contemporaryarttrader

Starting from the early 1900s, Paris was the centre and capital of contemporary art for many years, but all that changed after the Second World War broke out. For over two decades prior to the war, however, the famous Left Bank of Paris popularised multiple pieces from contemporary greats such as Braque, Fernand Léger, Derain, and Matisse. Some of the most well-known French art dealers of all time also belonged to that timeframe, and the likes of Roseberg, Wildenstein, and René Gimpel played a very active role in making Paris the contemporary art capital at that time.

The Second World War: A Sad Ending

The Second World War ended a lot of good things and contemporary art’s popularity in Europe was one of them, unfortunately. As most art dealers fled Europe to save themselves and their families from the impending doom, the United States became the new hub of art and artists as a whole and not just contemporary art.

After the war ended, it took a few years, but contemporary art once again found itself rising in popularity, but this time around, New York City became the new centre of contemporary art. When Robert Rauschenberg was chosen for the prestigious Golden Lion Award at the 32nd Venice Biennale (1964), it truly established New York City as the new capital of contemporary art.

Rise of Street Art in England

Before fine art made a full recovery in Paris, it was through the streets of England that contemporary art found its way back home to Europe again. Out of the many street artists such as ATM, Cheba, Inkie, Stik, and many others that came before or after them, no other name has been more satirical, politically charged, mysterious, and global in its influence than Banksy. His bold stencils from the 80s and the 90s continue to inspire contemporary artists across the world even today, and a few of the masterpieces can still be found at

A resurgence of Contemporary Art in Paris

After a long hiatus, art enthusiasts were excited to see that Paris was experiencing a sudden and unexpected surge in its internal and international arts industry. In a year-on-year comparison between 2018 and 2019, it was found that the auction market in France had grown by roughly 1.49 times its size in a span of just 12 months. Most of the sales responsible for the huge boost was attributed to contemporary pieces, which is once again the new trend in Paris, after many decades of comparative silence.

As of 2021, Paris has been once again, unofficially crowned as the capital of global contemporary art. While London and New York City is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic, locals have kept Paris’s contemporary resurgence growing even in the middle of a global disaster. If World War 2 dethroned Paris from the seat of contemporary leadership within the art world, it is indeed ironic that another global disaster cemented the French capital’s place back among the top three.


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